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Kill Me If You Can A Gruesome Chase

  • Susan Ellingburg Thefish.com Contributing Writer
  • 2011 9 Sep
  • COMMENTS
<i>Kill Me If You Can</i> A Gruesome Chase

Author: James Patterson & Marshall Karp

Title: Kill Me If You Can

Publisher: Little, Brown

What would you do if you found an unmarked bag with $13 million worth of diamonds inside?

Making his way through a smoky Grand Central Terminal in New York City—in the middle of an apparent terrorist attack—art student Matthew Bannon finds just such a bag. Taking advantage of this unexpected opportunity (and taking possession of the bag), Matthew figures his days as a starving artist are over. He and his girlfriend can now live worry-free on the proceeds while he pursues life as a painter.

There's just one problem: those diamonds were stolen from an international diamond syndicate run by some seriously bad dudes. They want their diamonds back. And they don't care who has to die in the process.

This brings us to the Ghost, arguably the world's greatest assassin. Those diamonds Matthew found were most recently in the possession of the Ghost's latest victim, the diamond thief who died for his crime. Now the Ghost has been tasked with retrieving the diamonds and taking out Matthew in the process. What the Ghost doesn't know is that his employers have also called in a rival assassin. The beautiful-but-heartless Marta is also after the diamonds—and there's a bonus waiting for her if she kills the Ghost along the way.

And so begins a not-so-merry chase from the streets New York through the capitals of Europe and back again with guns blazing and bodies dropping every step of the way. As you'd expect from this best-selling author, the story zips along from one action-packed chapter to the next, the stakes are high, and the plot delivers a twist or two.

Still, I can't say it was my favorite James Patterson thriller. Matthew was altogether charming, as was his romance with the lovely Katherine, but too much time with the Russian diamond cartel left a sour taste in my mouth. All that casual violence and callous disregard for life is hard to swallow. Even when bad guys get what's coming to them it's not so much satisfying as sad and disgusting. Dirty cops, Russian gangsters, stone-cold killers, good guys who do bad things for a good cause—they're not quite clichés in this story, but they come perilously close. On the whole, Kill Me If You Can is a quick read and probably just as quickly forgotten. 

Additionally, gentle readers should take note that the book contains an abundance of violence (not surprising, considering at least two of the main characters are contract killers) and sex (including an incestuous relationship) and both are described in the same loving detail. There's rough language, too, though it's used sparingly; I found the casual attitude toward "collateral damage" more offensive than the four-letter words. If none of that concerns you, then you may find Kill Me If You Can a tasty bit of brain candy to while away a few hours. Otherwise, just wait a bit . . . no doubt this prolific author will have another best-seller in stores before you know it.

*This review first published 9/6/2011